Strengthened cooperation in the Sahel

Project description

Title: Regional project for strengthening the cooperation in the Sahel
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union
Country: Pan-African Organisations and Programmes
Overall term: 2019 to 2022



The countries of the Sahel region – Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad – are facing numerous challenges, including increased violence, rising extremism and a lack of economic prospects. Added to this are insufficient access to jobs and to essential public services such as water, health, education and electricity. Climate change is weakening the region further. 

On 16 February 2014, the heads of state of these countries founded the regional organisation G5 Sahel to jointly tackle challenges in the field of security and development. At the 19th Franco-German Council of Ministers, Germany, France and the European Union (EU) decided to extend their development cooperation work with the G5 Sahel countries. Together with the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), they founded the Sahel Alliance to provide greater support to the region in its work to achieve stability and development. The alliance now comprises thirteen bilateral and multilateral donors. 

The Sahel Alliance focuses on six priority sectors: 

  • Youth employment/elementary and vocational education
  • Rural development, agriculture, food security
  • Renewable energy
  • Good governance
  • Decentralisation and basic services 
  • Civil security

Added to these are the overarching issues of climate, gender and the private sector.

The Alliance is more deeply engaged in the most vulnerable regions. The G5 members of the Sahel region and the members of the Sahel Alliance are accountable to one another where common goals are concerned. Beyond this, the Sahel Alliance is developing new implementation methods and cooperative projects, as well as more innovative and flexible funding methods. It is also fostering regional political dialogue.

It is against this backdrop that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has commissioned the project for a period of four years with funding of eight million euros. This includes co-funding from the EU of over two million euros.


The effectiveness of the development contributions of the members of the Sahel Alliance in the Sahel has been raised. 



Field of activity 1 – management of the Sahel Alliance secretariat – comprises strengthening the institutions of the Sahel Alliance and promoting knowledge sharing and peer learning. Structures and processes are being strengthened and the work of the secretariat as the service provider to all the Sahel Alliance donors is being raised to a more professional level. This will ensure the operational capacity of the Sahel Alliance. The structures and processes are being put on a secure basis to ensure their continuity when the work of the secretariat is transferred to another organisation, which is scheduled for April 2021.

Field of activity 2: The project advises BMZ on its participation and positioning in the Sahel Alliance. With its technical expertise and its role as a founding member of the Sahel Alliance, BMZ is both a political and technical asset to the Alliance, which can serve as a stimulus for other members. Its expert advice relates to key issues of German development cooperation in the region, such as decentralisation and agriculture, as well as certain overarching issues. BMZ leads the Decentralisation and Basic Services working group. With partners and other players in the Sahel Alliance, practical experience is evaluated, pilot measures implemented and studies on questions of strategic relevance to the work of BMZ and other donors in the Sahel drawn up. In addition, the project advises BMZ on handling tasks in the management of the Sahel Alliance to make an effective contribution to its strategic orientation. 


Field of activity 1:

  • The project began in April 2019. With the official opening of the Sahel Alliance secretariat at its new location of Brussels by State Secretary Martin Jäger, it was formally transferred from the French development agency Agence France Développement (AFD) to Germany.
  • The secretariat is now actively fulfilling its role as service provider to the members of the Sahel Alliance in organising work processes.
  • With experts in the G5 countries, the regional project supports the porte-paroles of the Sahel Alliance. The porte-paroles are donor representatives present locally who have assumed a leadership function for the Sahel Alliance.

Field of activity 2:

  • The regional project continuously advises BMZ on the issues of agriculture and food security, decentralisation, communication and public relations work, as well as on methods and innovation.
  • In the first steering committee meeting chaired by Germany, BMZ effectively positioned itself in the Alliance’s circle of donors and set its own priorities; for example a focus on a stronger, political dialogue, agreed among the donors, with the G5 partner countries.
  • Together with the regional project on decentralisation in West Africa, the project has been successful in involving the decentralised level of the local authorities more closely in this dialogue.

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